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Title: British masculinities beyond patriarchy, 1689-1702
Author: Brittan, Owen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 9177
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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This research project examines multiple constructions of masculinity during the reign of William III (1689-1702), a period often overlooked by historians of masculinity. Historical interpretations of masculinity in the early modern period have focused heavily on patriarchal models of masculinity and the accompanying gendered relationships and expectations associated with the household. Recently, historians have turned their attention to cultures of politeness and civility in the public sphere. Yet masculinity in this period was more diverse than these prominent models allow because it could be constructed through a number of different processes. Using normative literature and experiential records, this project seeks to add to the scholarship on nonpatriarchal constructions, understandings, and norms of masculinity. Four non-domestic settings were particularly prominent and recurrent throughout the autobiographical sources and normative literature of the period: the military, government and public service, commerce, and religion. The norms associated with each setting were complex. Moreover, these norms sometimes varied between settings in ways that created tension. Negotiating masculinity in accordance with the normative expectations of various settings could be taxing. Each of these four settings constitutes a chapter in this dissertation, along with a final chapter that shifts the focus beyond the British Isles to how British colonists, travellers, and traders experienced the foreign hardships, climates, and peoples of the geographical periphery, which often necessitated further alternative constructions of masculinity. Grounded upon men's experience recorded in their own words in diaries, journals, and memoirs, this project highlights the numerous ways of establishing manhood and demonstrates the variability of masculinity as an identity that is both subjective and socially contingent. Examining settings of masculinity outside of the household and beyond male female relations at the turn of the eighteenth century confirms that masculinity is multiple, nuanced, complicated, and (at times) anxious.
Supervisor: Klein, Lawrence Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Patriarchy ; masculinity ; manhood ; Britain ; government ; military ; william iii